An American Winner of the World Hero Challenge?
Will 2022 see an American winner of the World Hero Challenge? If that is the case, then it’ll be the first time since 2017.
Organized by Tiger Woods, the Hero World Challenge takes place this year from November 30 to December 4. It’s preceded by a pro-am event on November 28 and 29. The defending champion is Viktor Hovland who became the third consecutive European golfer to win the tournament that’s held at the Albany golf course in the Bahamas.
It’s not a bad life being a golfer, regardless of which tour you are playing on. December is known for its rather chilly weather so beginning it in sunny Bahamas isn’t a bad start is it?
If the 2022 Hero World Challenge is anything like the past two events, then we’ll be in for a thriller. In 2019 and 2021 (COVID meant there was no tournament in 2020) have both been won by just one stroke.
This year’s tournament will attract plenty of interest from gamblers. This will include those in New York and New Jersey who have both made sports betting legal.
Should gamblers in those states be betting on an American win in 2022? The US certainly has a good chance of doing so, according to BetRivers NY sportsbook guide and other betting journalists.
Last year saw Scottie Scheffler finish just a shot behind Hovland. Since then, he’s risen all the way up to the top of the world rankings. His run of four wins in six tournaments took place earlier in 2022. He hasn’t maintained that level of form since then but his second place at the US Open showed what a threat he can be.
One player who has had a great 2022 is Will Zalatoris who will be making his debut in this tournament. He began the year ranked outside the top 30 but is now in the top 10. Zalatoris finished second in both the US PGA and US Open and won the Fedex St Jude Championship. If an American is to win the Hero World Challenge this year, it may be Zalatoris.
Xander Schaufele and US PGA champion Justin Thomas have to be on the shortlist for what will be an unpredictable tournament.
There is a strong overseas contingent that might just see a fourth consecutive non-American win. Jon Rahm is a former number one who won the Hero World Challenge in 2018. He shot a 71 in the first round but fought back well with a 63 the following day and a final round 65 to win the title.
No one has won the Hero Challenge two years in a row. However, Rahm came close and finished only a shot behind winner Henrik Stenson in 2019. This year has seen the Spaniard win on both the PGA and European tours.
Another former winner back to try and win for a second time is Hideki Matsuyama. He won the World Hero Challenge in 2016 despite shooting a last round 73. Two rounds of 65 had put him in charge.
He began 2022 in top form with a win in the Sony Open, scoring 63 in both the final two rounds. That took him into a play-off with Russell Hendley. It’ll be a while before we forget him winning on the first hole with a stunning eagle.
Could he become the first person to win this title twice? Or will the strong American line-up finally get that first win since 2017?